- 10 Nov 2020
Date received: 26 Aug 2020
Date responded: 23 Oct 2020
Keith Brown in advance of £1b roadworks at M73/M74/M8 in 2016 said that the works would ‘shave around 20 minutes off the journey from Edinburgh to Glasgow.’
Did Mr Brown make this claim or similar claims In parliament, or in committee, or elsewhere when speaking on behalf of the government, or in his capacity?
It was confirmed, following our request for clarification on 1 September 2020, that you are requesting information for occasions when Keith Brown MSP in his capacity as Cabinet Secretary during 2016 said that the M8 M73 M74 Motorway Improvements would ‘shave around 20 minutes off the journey from Edinburgh to Glasgow’ either in the Scottish Parliament, while attending a Parliamentary Committee or publicly.
As the information you have requested is ‘environmental information’ for the purposes of the Environmental Information (Scotland) Regulations 2004 (EIRs), we are required to deal with your request under those Regulations. We are applying the exemption at section 39(2) of the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 (FOISA), so that we do not also have to deal with your request under FOISA.
This exemption is subject to the ‘public interest test’. Therefore, taking account of all the circumstances of this case, we have considered if the public interest in disclosing the information outweighs the public interest in applying the exemption. We have found that, on balance, the public interest lies in favour of upholding the exemption, because there is no public interest in dealing with the same request under two different regimes. This is essentially a technical point and has no material effect on the outcome of your request.
In relation to statements made by Keith Brown MSP in Scottish Parliament, I can confirm that this information is already publicly available on the Parliament website as to whether the above statement was made. A copy of Parliamentary questions and answers can be found at the following link and can be narrowed down by searching keyword, name of MSP and date range: https://www.parliament.scot/parliamentarybusiness/28877.aspx
A copy of previous committee meeting minutes from 2016 can also be found at the following link: https://www.parliament.scot/parliamentarybusiness/1702.aspx
Parliamentary Procedure Rule 16.1 states that the minutes of each committee meeting require to be drawn up by the clerk. The minutes record all the items of business taken in the committee at the meeting and the results of any decisions taken and of any divisions and elections which took place. This includes items taken in private, though in such cases it may be necessary (depending on the circumstances) for the minutes to record decisions in such a way as not to reveal the details of private discussions. The minutes are published on the committee webpage as soon as possible after conclusion of proceedings and normally within 24 hours.
In regards to other occasions where Keith Brown MSP has made a statement publicly in relation to the M8 M73 M74 Motorway Improvements project, a copy of press releases issued to the media can be found on our project website at the following link: https://www.transport.gov.scot/projects/m8-m73-m74-motorway-improvements/
Copies of the project newsletters from 2016 that provide further information can also be found on our project website at the following link: https://www.transport.gov.scot/publications/?project=1309&page=1
Under regulation 6(1)(b) of the EIRs, we do not have to give you information which is already publicly available and easily accessible to you in another form or format. If, however, you do not have internet access to obtain this information from the websites listed, then please contact me again and I will send you a paper copy.
The Scottish Government is committed to publishing all information released in response to Freedom of Information requests. View all FOI responses at http://www.gov.scot/foi-responses.
Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000
The Scottish Government
St Andrews House